UK hospital operator Nuffield Health is implementing a private cloud architecture as part of an ongoing strategy to consolidate and centralise its IT services.
The charity, which operates 31 private hospitals around the UK, has been on an "infrastructure journey" in the last 12 months, interim enterprise architect Mike Rowland told Information Age this morning, moving from decentralised, physical hardware to central, virtualised services.
"We decided our legacy platform was no longer fit for purpose," he explained. "As a charity, we have quite a lean IT operation, so we need to have a flexible, easy to manage IT infrastructure."
Nuffield had already adopted VMware-based virtualisation in its primary data centre, but it has commissioned a new, secondary site in a colocation facility, where it is building its new private cloud infrastructure.
In December last year, the company selected Hewlett-Packard’s CloudSystem, an integrated stack of hardware and cloud service management software, to support the private cloud.
"CloudSystems comes with a lot of tools, templates and best practice guides for building cloud services," Rowland said. "We couldn’t find another way to get the same service without having to manage multiple suppliers and configure and integrate the system ourselves."
Nuffield nevertheless wanted to operate its own infrastructure, he said. "We wanted all the benefits of the cloud, but not for its to be sitting in someone else’s infrastructure. We handle patient data, so we want to be in control from a data protection point of view."
The infrastructure-as-a-service functionality of CloudSystem allows Nuffield’s IT department to deploy server resources without the long provisioning cycle it previously had in place, Rowland said. "It’s a much more modern way of working."
The charity is now in the process of migrating systems that are currently hosted in server rooms in hospitals onto the private cloud. "Any thing that can be moved off physical infrastructure will be," Rowland explained.